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Molecular and cellular neurosciences [journal]
- Differential role of APP and APLPs for neuromuscular synaptic morphology and function. [JOURNAL ARTICLE]
- Mol Cell Neurosci 2014 Jul 4.
The analysis of mouse models indicated that APP and the related APLPs are important for synapse formation and function. The synaptic role of APP is, however, complex due to partially overlapping functions within the gene family. APP/APLPs are proteolytically cleaved and have both adhesive and signaling properties. Mice lacking individual APP family members are viable, whereas APP/APLP2 and APLP1/APLP2 double knockout (DKO) mice die shortly after birth. Here, we analyzed the morphology of the neuromuscular junction (NMJ) of lethal APLP1/APLP2-DKO mice in comparison to lethal APP/APLP2-DKO mutants and viable single KO mice. We report that, surprisingly, the NMJ phenotype of APLP1/APLP2-DKO mice shows striking differences as compared to APP/APLP2-DKO mice. Unexpectedly, APLP1/APLP2-DKO mice exhibit normal endplate patterning and lack presynaptic nerve terminal sprouting. However, at the level of individual synapses we show that APLP1/APLP2-DKO mice exhibit reduced size of pre- and postsynaptic compartments and reduced co-localization. As APP/APLP2-DKO and APLP1/APLP2-DKO mice show similar penetrance of early postnatal lethality, this suggests that deficits at the level of individual synapses due to impaired synaptic apposition and/or deficits in transmitter release may cause lethality. Using an in vitro cell-adhesion assay, we observed that APP trans-dimerization is considerably less efficient than APLP2 trans-interaction. Thus, differences between APP/APLP2 and APP/APLP1 NMJ formation may be in part explained by differences in APP/APLP2 trans-dimerization properties. Collectively, our study further highlights the distinct and essential role of APLP2 at NMJ synapses that cannot be compensated by APP.
- Cortical parvalbumin GABAergic deficits with α7 nicotinic acetylcholine receptor deletion: Implications for schizophrenia. [JOURNAL ARTICLE]
- Mol Cell Neurosci 2014 Jun 28.
Dysfunction of cortical parvalbumin (PV)-containing GABAergic interneurons has been implicated in cognitive deficits of schizophrenia. In humans microdeletion of the CHRNA7 (α7 nicotinic acetylcholine receptor, nAChR) gene is associated with cortical dysfunction in a broad spectrum of neurodevelopmental and neuropsychiatric disorders including schizophrenia while in mice similar deletion causes analogous abnormalities including impaired attention, working-memory and learning. However, the pathophysiological roles of α7 nAChRs in cortical PV GABAergic development remain largely uncharacterized. In both in vivo and in vitro models, we identify here that deletion of the α7 nAChR gene in mice impairs cortical PV GABAergic development and recapitulates many of the characteristic neurochemical deficits in PV-positive GABAergic interneurons found in schizophrenia. α7 nAChR null mice had decreased cortical levels of GABAergic markers including PV, Glutamic Acid Decarboxylase 65/67 (GAD65/67) and the α1 subunit of GABAA receptors, particularly reductions of PV and GAD67 levels in cortical PV-positive interneurons during late postnatal life and adulthood. Cortical GABAergic synaptic deficits were identified in the prefrontal cortex of α7 nAChR null mice and α7 nAChR null cortical cultures. Similar disruptions in development of PV-positive GABAergic interneurons and perisomatic synapses were found in cortical cultures lacking α7 nAChRs. Moreover, NMDA receptor expression was reduced in GABAergic interneurons, implicating NMDA receptor hypofunction in GABAergic deficits in α7 nAChR null mice. Our findings thus demonstrate impaired cortical PV GABAergic development and multiple characteristic neurochemical deficits reminiscent of schizophrenia in cortical PV-positive interneurons in α7 nAChR gene deletion models. This implicates crucial roles of α7 nAChRs in cortical PV GABAergic development and dysfunction in schizophrenia and other neuropsychiatric disorders.
- Erythropoietin Attenuates Loss of Potassium Chloride Co-Transporters Following Prenatal Brain Injury. [JOURNAL ARTICLE]
- Mol Cell Neurosci 2014 Jun 28.
Therapeutic agents that restore the inhibitory actions of γ-amino butyric acid (GABA) by modulating intracellular chloride concentrations will provide novel avenues to treat stroke, chronic pain, epilepsy, autism, neurodegenerative and cognitive disorders. During development upregulation of the potassium-chloride co-transporter KCC2, and the resultant switch from excitatory to inhibitory responses to GABA guides the formation of essential inhibitory circuits. Importantly, maturation of inhibitory mechanisms is also central to the development of excitatory circuits and proper balance between excitatory and inhibitory networks in the developing brain. Loss of KCC2 expression occurs in postmortem samples from human preterm infant brains with white matter lesions. Here we show late gestation brain injury in a rat model of extreme prematurity impairs the developmental upregulation of potassium chloride co-transporters during a critical postnatal period of circuit maturation in CA3 hippocampus by inducing a sustained loss of oligomeric KCC2 via a calpain-dependent mechanism. Further, administration of erythropoietin (EPO) in a clinically relevant postnatal dosing regimen following the prenatal injury protects the developing brain by reducing calpain activity, restoring oligomeric KCC2 expression and attenuating KCC2 fragmentation, thus providing the first report of a safe therapy to address deficits in KCC2 expression. Together, these data indicate it is possible to reverse abnormalities in KCC2 expression during the postnatal period, and potentially reverse deficits in inhibitory circuit formation central to cognitive impairment and epileptogenesis.
- The histone lysine demethylase Kdm6b is required for activity-dependent preconditioning of hippocampal neuronal survival. [JOURNAL ARTICLE]
- Mol Cell Neurosci 2014 Jun 28.
Enzymes that regulate histone lysine methylation play important roles in neuronal differentiation, but little is known about their contributions to activity-regulated gene transcription in differentiated neurons. We characterized activity-regulated expression of lysine demethylases and lysine methyltransferases in the hippocampus of adult male mice following pilocarpine-induced seizure. Pilocarpine drove a 20-fold increase in mRNA encoding the histone H3 lysine27-specific demethylase Kdm6b selectively in granule neurons of the dentate gyrus, and this induction was recapitulated in cultured hippocampal neurons by bicuculline and 4-aminopyridine (Bic+4AP) stimulation of synaptic activity. Because activity-regulated gene expression is highly correlated with neuronal survival, we tested the requirement for Kdm6b expression in Bic+4AP induced preconditioning of neuronal survival. Prior exposure to Bic+4AP promoted neuronal survival in control neurons upon growth factor withdrawal, however this effect was ablated when we knocked down Kdm6b expression. Loss of Kdm6b did not disrupt activity-induced expression of most genes, including that of a gene set previously established to promote neuronal survival in this assay. However using bioinformatic analysis of RNA sequencing data, we discovered that Kdm6b knockdown neurons showed impaired inducibility of a discrete set of genes annotated for their function in inflammation. These data reveal a novel function for Kdm6b in activity-regulated neuronal survival, and they suggest that activity- and Kdm6b-dependent regulation of inflammatory gene pathways may serve as an adaptive pro-survival response to increased neuronal activity.
- Autophagy dysregulation in cell culture and animals models of Spinal Muscular Atrophy. [JOURNAL ARTICLE]
- Mol Cell Neurosci 2014 Jun 28.
Abnormal autophagy has become a central thread linking neurodegenerative diseases, particularly of the motor neuron. One such disease is spinal muscular atrophy (SMA), a genetic neuromuscular disorder caused by mutations in the SMN1 gene resulting in low levels of Survival Motor Neuron (SMN) protein. Despite knowing the causal protein, the exact intracellular processes that are involved in the selective loss of motor neurons remains unclear. Autophagy induction can be helpful or harmful depending on the situation, and we sought to understand the state of the autophagic response in SMA. We show that cell culture and animal models demonstrate induction of autophagy accompanied by attenuated autophagic flux, resulting in the accumulation of autophagosomes and their associated cargo. Expression of the SMN-binding protein a-COP, a known modulator of autophagic flux, can ameliorate this autophagic traffic jam.
- In vitro growth conditions and development affect differential distributions of RNA in axonal growth cones and shafts of cultured rat hippocampal neurons. [JOURNAL ARTICLE]
- Mol Cell Neurosci 2014 Jun 28.
Local synthesis of proteins in the axons participates in axonogenesis and axon guidance to establish appropriate synaptic connections and confer plasticity. To study the transcripts present in the growth cones and axonal shafts of cultured rat hippocampal neurons, two chip devices, differing in their abilities to support axonal growth and branching, are designed and employed here to isolate large quantities of axonal materials. Cone-, shaft- and axon-residing transcripts with amounts higher than that of a somatodendritic transcript, Actg1 (γ-actin), are selected and classified. Since the chips are optically transparent, distribution of transcripts over axons can be studied by fluorescence in situ hybridization. Three transcripts, Cadm1 (cell adhesion molecule 1), Nefl (neurofilament light polypeptide), and Cfl1 (non-muscle cofilin) are confirmed to be preferentially localized to the growth cones, while Pfn2 (profilin2) is preferentially localized to the shafts of those axons growing on the chip that restricts axonal growth. The different growing conditions of axons on chips and on conventional coverslips do not affect the cone-preferred localization of Cadm1 and shaft-preferred localization of Pfn2, but affect the distributions of Nefl and Cfl1 over the axons at 14th day in vitro. Furthermore, the distributions of Cadm1 and Nefl over the axons growing on conventional coverslips undergo changes during in vitro development. Our results suggest a dynamic nature of the mechanisms regulating the distributions of transcripts in axonal substructures in a manner dependent upon both growth conditions and neuronal maturation.
- Thrombospondin 4 deficiency in mouse impairs neuronal migration in the early postnatal and adult brain. [JOURNAL ARTICLE]
- Mol Cell Neurosci 2014 Jun 28.
In the post-natal rodent brain, neuronal precursors originating from the sub-ventricular zone (SVZ) migrate over long distance along the rostral migratory stream (RMS) to eventually integrate the olfactory bulb neuronal circuitry. In order to identify new genes specifically expressed in the RMS, we have screened the Allen Brain Atlas Database. We focused our attention on Thrombospondin 4 (Thbs4), one of the 5 members of the Thrombospondin family of large, multidomain, extracellular matrix proteins. In post-natal and adult brain Thbs4 mRNA and protein are specifically expressed in the neurogenic regions, including the SVZ and along the entire RMS. RMS cells expressing Thbs4 are GFAP (Glial Fibrillary Acidic Protein) positive astrocytes. Histological analysis in both wild-type and Thbs4 knock-out mice revealed no major abnormality in the general morphology of these neurogenic regions. Nevertheless, immunostaining for Doublecortin demonstrates that in Thbs4-KO, migration of newly formed neurons along the RMS is somehow impaired, with several neurons migrating out of the RMS. This is further supported by a Bromodeoxyuridine-based in vivo approach showing a decrease in the number of newly born neuronal precursors reaching the olfactory bulb, while proliferation in the SVZ is not affected compared to wild-type, both in young animals (P15) and in adults (8 to 12weeks of age). Corroborating this observation, the number of Parvalbumin- and Calbindin-immunoreactive interneurons in the olfactory bulb is also reduced in Thbs4-KO. Together, these observations support a role for the astrocyte-secreted protein Thbs4 in the migration of newly form neurons within the RMS to the olfactory bulb.
- Myosin IIb controls actin dynamics underlying the dendritic spine maturation. [JOURNAL ARTICLE]
- Mol Cell Neurosci 2014 Jun 3.:56-64.
Precise control of the formation and development of dendritic spines is critical for synaptic plasticity. Consequently, abnormal spine development is linked to various neurological disorders. The actin cytoskeleton is a structural element generating specific changes in dendritic spine morphology. Although mechanisms underlying dendritic filopodia elongation and spine head growth are relatively well understood, it is still not known how spine heads are enlarged and stabilized during dendritic spine maturation. By using rat hippocampal neurons, we demonstrate that the size of the stable actin pool increases during the neuronal maturation process. Simultaneously, the treadmilling rate of the dynamic actin pool increases. We further show that myosin IIb controls dendritic spine actin cytoskeleton by regulating these two different pools of F-actin via distinct mechanisms. The findings indicate that myosin IIb stabilizes the stable F-actin pool through actin cross-linking. Simultaneously, activation of myosin IIb contractility increases the treadmilling rate of the dynamic pool of actin. Collectively, these data show that myosin IIb has a major role in the regulation of actin filament stability in dendritic spines, and elucidate the complex mechanism through which myosin IIb functions in this process. These new insights into the mechanisms underlying dendritic spine maturation further the model of dendritic spine morphogenesis.
- Regionally specific expression of high-voltage-activated calcium channels in thalamic nuclei of epileptic and non-epileptic rats. [JOURNAL ARTICLE]
- Mol Cell Neurosci 2014 Jun 7.
The polygenic origin of generalized absence epilepsy results in dysfunction of ion channels that allows the switch from physiological asynchronous to pathophysiological highly synchronous network activity. Evidence from rat and mouse models of absence epilepsy indicates that altered Ca(2+) channel activity contributes to cellular and network alterations that lead to seizure activity. Under physiological circumstances, high voltage-activated (HVA) Ca(2+) channels are important in determining the thalamic firing profile. Here, we investigated a possible contribution of HVA channels to the epileptic phenotype using a rodent genetic model of absence epilepsy. In this study, HVA Ca(2+) currents were recorded from neurons of three different thalamic nuclei that are involved in both sensory signal transmission and rhythmic-synchronized activity during epileptic spike-and-wave discharges (SWD), namely the dorsal part of the lateral geniculate nucleus (dLGN), the ventrobasal thalamic complex (VB) and the reticular thalamic nucleus (NRT) of epileptic Wistar Albino Glaxo rats from Rijswijk (WAG/Rij) and non-epileptic August Copenhagen Irish (ACI) rats. HVA Ca(2+) current densities in dLGN neurons were significantly increased in epileptic rats compared with non-epileptic controls while other thalamic regions revealed no differences between the strains. Application of specific channel blockers revealed that the increased current was carried by L-type Ca(2+) channels. Electrophysiological evidence of increased L-type current correlated with up-regulated mRNA and protein expression of a particular L-type channel, namely Cav1.3, in dLGN of epileptic rats. No significant changes were found for other HVA Ca(2+) channels. Moreover, pharmacological inactivation of L-type Ca(2+) channels results in altered firing profiles of thalamocortical relay (TC) neurons from non-epileptic rather than from epileptic rats. While HVA Ca(2+) channels influence tonic and burst firing in ACI and WAG/Rij differently, it is discussed that increased Cav1.3 expression may indirectly contribute to increased robustness of burst firing and thereby the epileptic phenotype of absence epilepsy.
- Relevance of neuronal and glial NPC1 for synaptic input to cerebellar Purkinje cells. [JOURNAL ARTICLE]
- Mol Cell Neurosci 2014 Jun 6.
Niemann-Pick type C disease is a rare and ultimately fatal lysosomal storage disorder with variable neurologic symptoms. The disease-causing mutations concern NPC1 or NPC2, whose dysfunction entails accumulation of cholesterol in the endosomal-lysosomal system and the selective death of specific neurons, namely cerebellar Purkinje cells. Here, we investigated whether neurodegeneration is preceded by an imbalance of synaptic input to Purkinje cells and whether neuronal or glial absence of NPC1 has different impacts on synapses. To this end, we prepared primary cerebellar cultures from wildtype or NPC1-deficient mice that are glia-free and highly enriched with Purkinje cells. We report that lack of NPC1 in either neurons or glial cells did not affect the excitability of Purkinje cells, the formation of dendrites or their excitatory synaptic activity. However, simultaneous absence of NPC1 from neuronal and glial cells impaired the presynaptic input to Purkinje cells suggesting a cooperative effect of neuronal and glial NPC1 on synapses.